“It is with a heavy, heavy heart that I write to ask your fervent and continual prayers for my dear brother and friend, Lorimer Arendse, who was diagnosed 2 days ago with Stage 4 Lung Cancer that has apparently spread “all over his body”.”
~from an email
Today I welcome you to What I Read Wednesday, the THIRD attempt. And what book(s) is/are the subject of my review? The first is A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Click here to check out her blog. The second is The Valley of Vision, which is a nice compilation of puritan prayers. If what you envision when you hear that is this:
Then please banish such thoughts from your mind. The puritans may have a reputation…(whether true or not is often disregarded)…but they certainly knew how to pray! So let’s get started…
A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold
By Anne Elisabeth Stengl
My Rating- 5 stars
(I think I know why I almost always say 5 stars. It’s because I normally only post books I liked! 🙂 )
Genre: Fantasy fiction
Okay, so besides the gorgeous cover (I am expiring over this cover…almost:) ) what is there the say? Well first the excerpt:
For six hundred years I have dwelt in this prison. Trapped. Helpless. Unliving and undying. For six hundred years I have watched as cursebreakers come and go. Brave young women all, gifted with powers beyond mortal understanding. I have watched them die. I have watched them wish to die. Once again the Family of Night invades this country to claim its dues, and this generation’s cursebreaker has her chance to break the endless chain of torment. To save me. To save her sisters. But how can a peasant child scarcely fourteen years of age discover the three-part key and liberate the captives? Will she too be doomed to join the Death Dance binding us all to the Family of Night?
Now for my take on it.
- I loved the onward progression of the main character(s). They seemed to grow as they learned what each of them had to do.
2. It was full of excitement! I did NOT want to put it down–at any point.
3. I liked the humor…and the awkward moments that were sprinkled around the story. The main character may not understand decorum and proper ladylike behavior–but it adds to her personality. Her heart is in the right place–and that’s more important.
4. The mystery aspect of the story. It made me sit on edge–“What is going on?”. I HAD to keep going to find out. A good writer pulls you into the story and makes it YOUR adventure. Or they just pull you in and make you love their characters.
5. Okay, I have a thing where the strangest/funniest character in a story goes on my top 5 list. If you read it…thumbs up for the sylph. That is a hilarious character. I love her.
- The author had better have a sequel in mind–because she left a lot of loose ends!
2. I didn’t like the ending. Mostly because I could feel the incompleteness of the story. Yeah, one adventure was ended–or was it? I so wanted to know what would happen.
3. But then again…I suppose she might be prepping the readers for a sequel? (Please A.E.S, pleeeeeease??? 🙂 )
The Valley of Vision
A Compilation of Puritan Prayers
Published by Banner of Truth Trust
My Rating- 5 stars
Hints & Tips…
*This book can be bought in either paperback or leather. I have the leather copy– and couldn’t be any happier with it. It is cabra bonded leather.
* The book is a little expensive, but well worth it!
*Also, this isn’t (for me) the kind of book that I read once through then put back on the shelf. They go wonderful for everything. Several of the prayers are in a specific category. For instance, there are ones to read before the Lord’s Supper, or before the worship service starts. I find it helpful to read the different ones both in my private worship (quiet time, devotions, etc.) and in whatever specific contexts that certain of the prayers are titled after.
My Other Thoughts…
- I love this book! It does contain thees and thous…I like to translate them back into our current modern way of talking. The reason: because I find that instead of saying “Thou knowest my heart, mine every thought is…(etc)” it’s more personal (for me) to say: “You know my heart, that my every thought is…”. I don’t know why. The thees and thous kinda’ just trip me up. I like them in books–just not when I’m trying to pray a prayer to God.
- The prayers are each of them rich in gospel comfort and in convicting the heart of sin. Each prayer is about the same length–not too long. They’re more the ‘short and sweet’ deal. I like long prayers as well…but I seriously don’t know how lengthening these prayers could make them any better!
- I recommend reading these prayers out loud–or at least partially out loud. Every now and then the language gets old timey (ahem, *gorgeous*). Some words I have to look up later. When you get to those parts read them over once or twice. Sometimes a bell rings in my mind and I can figure out what is meant by the context.
*Anyway…I love both of these books and would heartily encourage you to get your copies.